Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Just wanted to post some end-of-March quickies that don't warrant a full post of their own.

Firstly - 3,270 visits since August. What can I say? Thank you so much to all the visitors and welcome again! The visitor count constantly exceeds my expetations. I hit 1,000 around Christmas, so there's been an exceptional traffic in the past few months. I realize it might have to do with the end of BSG and dwindle hereafter, but I'm seeing a lot of the same locations, and I'm glad I show up in "James Callis" searches (when Google Blogsearch is noble enough to include me...). Most of the searches are surprisingly on topic for this blog, having to do with either James or BSG. (My old fat acceptance blog got hits like "fur coat mature horny" and "comics about eating food that isn't yours", which was... interesting to say the least!)

Secondly, a small personal update: I realize I posted a while back about being depressed, so I should probably mention that after two months of meds and two counseling sessions, I'm feeling a lot better already. I have a lot more energy, and as you may have noticed, my sense of humor is getting sillier by the minute. So all is well.

Then onto the JC stuff:

Found some videos of the MegaCon panel, and they're in this playlist. (That's only the James-relevant ones, there are more videos by the same user if you're interested in the other panelists.) They're not the full panel, and it seems a bit hard to piece together a transcript, but I might still make one if we don't get a full panel from someone else.

[If you haven't seen the finale, there are spoilers, so jump over this paragraph.] The finale has already been covered by everyone, so I'm not really sure if I want to write a long analysis. I felt pretty much the same as BSGCast: loved the resolution of Baltar, Adama/Roslin was pretty much what I expected, Lee being left alone felt a bit odd, and wasn't happy with the way the angels/Kara were wrapped up (even a little more explanation would have been nice). I just don't feel like I have a lot more to say about it at this point. Overall, it's a finale that uplifted me (mainly the GaiusCaprica/OperaHouse scenes), felt like a worthy closure to most things, and didn't leave any lingering spikes of bitterness or disappointment. I was and am a bit annoyed with the robot thing in the end, which I think was a stylistic mistake, because it takes you away from the feel of the series. But how cool is it that James got to speak the final lines? I just have to say that one more time. All in all, I'm feeling calm and happy about the finale and feel like I can move on. (Meaning I'll probably rewatch the show soon, thinking and blogging about Gaius' awesome arc all along.)
[end of spoilers]

All the negativity against Ron D. Moore bugs me. I appreciate that some fans were left with lingering spikes of disappointment, and they have a right to post their criticisms, but there's no point in personally hating him. We don't have to endlessly fanwank RDM as a world-class genius, but it would be nice if people had a little respect. The hate seems overdone, especially after RDM himself answered some fan concerns and questions in the Skiffy forums. He was very eloquent and kind, and that made me think more highly of him. I might return to his points a little later.

So far, no post-finale interviews of James. I'd really like to hear his views on Baltar's end and all other things now that we can be as spoiled as we like. I'll keep looking and post about any new stuff. He was apparently at the cast and crew screening of the finale. (Annoying sidenote: The article refers to him as "Baltar" throughout.)

Working on the James Callis/Mark Sheppard Q&A, which I will post probably later this week, with apologies for the long delay. After that, I'm returning to other transcripts I hadn't finished previously. While I'm pretty much done with the 2008 stuff, there's plenty of 2007-2005 James goodness to get through.

Wrote another post about the fat girl in Beginner's Luck thing, but it's in my diary blog, since it's a bit more personal. Quick recap: it's still somewhat of an issue for me, but I'm mostly over it. I feel a bit bad criticizing James, even if I still feel my criticism was valid. Either way, I don't believe he has anything against fat people in general, so I hope no one took it like that.

That's about all for now! More coming soon. BSG is over, but this blog is still going on.

James Callis Smokes

I've had so many searches for this lately that I decided to post a clear answer.

Some people may frown, but you know what:
It may not be healthy, but it looks damn hot.
It happens all the time and you can bet (on) it,
James Callis smokes, now don't you forget it.

Thank you.

(Screenshots by M, from the Music of BSG mockumentary.)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Gaius Baltar - He's the Motherfrakking Shit!

I saw the finale yesterday. I was blown away and excited and meh and disappointed, all at the same time. I might or might not be able to write about all that today, because I'm still an emotional wreck. But since this is a James Callis/Gaius Baltar blog, I want to write about my feelings of fulfilment regarding the character. I am so happy about that right now. Obviously, spoilers for those who haven't seen the final episodes.

I'd like to give a standing ovation to everyone involved in creating the character of Gaius Baltar. He was awesome and he got an awesome sendoff.

He was awesome as a womanizing egomaniac.
As a guilt-riddled, cowardly weasel.
As a scientist and visionary.
As a redeemed, better man.
Last, but definitely not least:
He was awesome as a head character.

The redemption of Gaius Baltar was beautifully done. It was subtle. It wasn't "woke up one morning and now I'm preachier than Bill, Laura and Lee put together". It wasn't "OMG I'm the mastermind behind all this" (which, honestly, was a slight disappointment for me, but it could have been super lame too, so I'm going to be happy).

This is what it was:
After all of my experiences
and all the guilt and fear
all the guidance
and all the mistakes
this is the man I am.
No longer of afraid of taking sides
or taking a stand.

Absolute best case scenario. This is how you write a character. This is how people, in real life, grow and are redeemed.

I'm honestly very surprised that Caprica and Gaius got together in the end. I didn't expect that. I thought Lee and Kara would be the couple to walk into the sunset, but this was so much better. Gaius crying and Caprica comforting him was one of the most touching moments ever between them. Caprica telling Gaius she's proud of him, and that's what was always missing, and Gaius pulling her into a passionate kiss... Wow. It was all a bit sudden, but I felt more wasn't needed, because these two have a long history together. They loved each other through it all. I guess I can confess I'm a shipper. And I feel totally validated.

The Opera House scenes were beautiful. Gaius got to fight alongside the good guys and save Hera. His speech about God was beautiful - not the simplistic drivel he's been spewing for the cult, but something new and true he'd found:

God's not on any one side. God's a force of nature, beyond good and evil. Good and evil, we created those.
The moral ambiguity of this show - one of my favorite parts of it - and the villains and good guys finally completely mixed: humans and cylons side by side, "villain" Gaius fighting for the greater good. To me, this was the best part of the finale.

I realize I didn't get around to publishing that post about Daybreak part 1, so I'll also mention the superb flashback scenes. (I do have a post, which I will publish a bit later.) I'm a bit disappointed there wasn't more to the father backstory in part 2. It was beautiful that we got to see Gaius' ungrateful, cranky father and the troubled relationship between them. The pain and desperation in the scene where Gaius is hitting his father was some of James' best. Acting. Ever. In the light of what Caprica did for him, maybe giving her the access codes wasn't a simple act of selfishness and lust. So maybe that redeems Gaius a little as well.

Gaius: "The things men do for love."

Caprica: "Love? Gaius..."

Gaius: "...Yeah, well, you know what I mean, don't you?"

Hee! It was kind of strange seeing James play old-style arrogant Baltar, the new redeemed Baltar, and HeadBaltar, all in one episode. These are three very different characters, and his acting was subtle and beautiful. Gaius, as he is in the final season, has a completely different body language and way of talking, even his voice has changed to some extent. HeadBaltar is, of course, arrogant and ominous on a completely different level.

I loved the little scene where they're looking at the tribal community and Gaius and Cottle discuss their discoveries with Adama.

Doc Cottle: "Their DNA is compatible with ours."

Gaius: "Meaning we can breed with them."

Adama: "You have a one-track mind, doc."

Gaius: (indignant) "What?! I'm talking about the survival of the human race, actually, not some... get-together with the natives!"

Adama: "You also have no sense of humor."

(Tigh does his ho-ho-ho laughter.)

Gaius: "... Right. Right. I'm sorry."
Hee! I loved that moment. Gaius seems fascinated by the natives, but also solemn and grateful - he sees a divine hand at work here. The atheist scientist now believes in God.

I'm not that happy with the idea of Gaius as a farmer - after all, his true gift is being a scientist. It was beautiful how he broke down and cried after he said, "I know about farming", finally recognizing that side of his life, where he came from. But for such an intelligent and ambitious man, it doesn't sound like a great future. I like to think he taught the natives about cultivation and medicine, maybe became some sort of wise man/doctor for them. And of course had lots of hybrid babies with Caprica - who knows, maybe the mitochondrial Eve wasn't Hera but one of their children? That's my fantasy.

HeadSix and HeadBaltar

I love that the Head Characters were there, and that both Caprica and Gaius could see them this time. I was seriously worried at some point that we'd never see HeadSix, let alone HeadBaltar, again, and that Gaius would be killed off five minutes into the finale, a hero but never mentioned again either. This was so much better.

So, Gaius and Caprica saved Hera - I was sort of hoping there would be more to the plan than that. But they kind of addressed that and left it open:

Caprica: That's it? That's all God wants of us?

HeadSix: God's plan is never complete.

(Gaius and Caprica give each other a look)

Gaius: Great.

HeadBaltar: But I think it's safe to say that from now on, your lives will be less... eventful.

(Head Characters disappear.)

I also love that HeadSix and HeadBaltar were in the very last scene of the series. James got to speak the very last lines of the show! I'm glad the Head Characters were real. It makes it seem worthwhile - the most disappointing thing would have been if they were just Gaius and Caprica's conscience, or hallucinations, or even cylon chips. I liked that they were a higher power.

However, I'm also unhappy, because I wanted to see an explanation. No, not spoonfed an easy and utterly unsatisfying answer, just some kind of resolution. Like, say, why they took the shape of Gaius and Caprica and still kept that look in our time. Maybe even just a flashback to Tyrol and Tory having visions of them a thousand years ago. Or were the man and woman they saw different? Were they HeadTyrol and HeadTory?

Or are Gaius and Caprica, like some fans suggested, avatars of some higher power beings? Is there a new Gaius and Caprica in every generation, or at least every point in time where God decides to reshuffle things? You know what would have been nice? Another Gaius Baltar walking in the crowd, and HeadSix and HeadBaltar following him. Something like that would have been vague but satisfying. I felt this was vaguely unsatisfying.

It seemed a bit confusing why HeadBaltar says "silly me" after saying God - or "it", whatever "it" is - doesn't like to be called God. The final read thru video - which is very touching - shows that the dialogue was edited and lost one important aspect, which was this:

HeadBaltar: "You know it doesn't like that name. In any case, it would have required mankind in all its flaws to have learned from its mistakes."

HeadSix: "Stranger things have happened."

HeadBaltar: "I think I'll take that bet. What are the stakes?-Silly me."

I.e., the stakes are - the fate of mankind. How silly of him to even ask.

I'm not sure what happened here. Did they decide that if they cut that bit out, somehow this will be a more cryptic ending? Was this intentional, or was it cut for time? The DVD's will contain an extended finale, so maybe we will see the full scene there.

It was still deeply satisfying to me that the final image of the entire series was HeadSix and HeadBaltar walking away.


I've always felt that Gaius Baltar is one of the most misunderstood and underappreciated characters on television. I'm sure many fans will still hate him, but to me, the fact that he got this ending shows that he's ultimately not a villain. He was a pawn in a greater plan. Humanity and cylons had to be destroyed and start afresh. A man needed to be so weak that he'd give access codes to a cylon to start it all. That was Gaius. Now that he's fulfilled that purpose, it was time for him to grow to be a better man, one that can be the father to a new generation of human/cylon hybrids.

His soul-breaking guilt can cease, and he can rest in the knowledge that HeadSix really was there and he's not crazy. He gets the respect of other people without needing the ridiculous hero worship of the cult. He's happy with one woman, whose respect and pride he has earned. This was a great arc and great character development.

Thank you Ron D. Moore, David Eick, Michael Rymer, and all the writers.

Most of all, I want to thank James Callis. Thank you for making and keeping the character sympathetic. Thank you for bringing the funny. Thank you for being subtle. Thank you for crying - especially in that last scene - and being so emotional. Thank you for the empathy you brought to the character.

Thank you for the scene where Baltar refuses to sign the death warrant. Thank you for the scenes with Gaeta during and after the mutiny. Thank you for saying "What have I done?" in the miniseries. Thank you for making Gaius a smoker - and for all the other smaller or bigger changes you made.

You, more than anyone else, made this character. Thank you so much for giving him to us.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Two New Interviews!

Finale tonight! I don't know about you, but I've got ants in my pants. Of course, with the time zone differences, I am not going to see the finale for another... over 24 hours. Which is killing me.

In the meantime, I've got two James interviews to report. Thanks to M for the links! (The interviews contain no major spoilers for those who haven't seen 4.5.)

USA Weekend's Who's News blog has posted a Q&A with James, and it's apparently done just last weekend. James talks about Baltar, and is very careful to not spoil anything in the finale - but there are two hints:
In the finale, Gaius becomes the man that he has wanted to be — or not known that he is for so long.

I’ve realized that the most dangerous people are the weak ones. His life is a mess because he’s attached to so many things that mean nothing. Gaius is going to realize that all of those things are not important anymore, which is a big discovery.


I hope that, in the end, Baltar will be important in the conclusion of the series. This is all I'm going to say until I actually see the finale. I've tried to have no big theories, no opinion on how things are going to unfold, because I'm really nervous about being disappointed and proven wrong. I just hope the finale will blow my socks off.

The other interview is a bit older, but still from this year. This seems to be about the episode Dreadlock, where Baltar comes back to this flock. There are six audio clips. When you click on part 1, it plays that one, and then automatically uploads all the others as well. But you can also go through individual links. Transcript by me below.

Part 1
"Why does Baltar come back to his people? Probably better to say why does Baltar come back to Galactica? Very simple: he's got simply nowhere else to go."
Well, he could have stayed on the baseship with Lida, but he chose to come back because of a sense of responsibility, right? I'm surprised James doesn't point that out. But it might be true that he has no real future on the baseship. His people are on Galactica.

Part 2
"I found the .. how I found Paulla and the other acolytes was very similar to... there was a similarity between that and when Butch Cassidy comes back into his group, having been away. In Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, he's like... He says something like, 'I didn't figure when I was away, I didn't figure you'd find a new leader.' This big guy turns around and says, [macho voice] 'You figured wrong, Butch.' That was kind of what was going on with me and Paulla andthe acolytes. They felt abandoned and so they found, you know, a new leadership, as it were."
Nothing much to add to this. Except that James sounds cute when he's trying to sound macho.

Part 3
"I'm not sure what's changed. I think it's a form of uh... I think it's a form of growing up that he's doing. I think Baltar is maturing in some way or fashion. Um... And yeah, it's finding compassion and finding um... it's a reason to live, because on some level, Baltar can't really live for himself anymore."
It sounds like he either can't really say much, or doesn't know how to explain his thoughts. Has Baltar matured, or will that happen only in the final episodes? I'm not sure. In Daybreak, Part 1, when Lee asks him to name one selfless act, he can't think of anything. But he's done selfless things, more and more as the series goes on - is he only now realizing that his selfishness outweighs all that? Would the old Baltar have said, "Duh, cylon detector? Going through thousands of specimens per day? I was practically a slave for all of you!"

Part 4
The last temptation is the greatest treason,
to do the right deed for the wrong reason.
"I think that's T.S. Eliot from Murder in the Cathedral. But essentially there's a bit of that going on. You look, he looks very, like, heroic giving out food, but essentially you're showing off to this lady who you've just found impossibly attractive very suddenly. As is... the way that he is."

Professor James! I just love how he can just casually quote something like that. I thought that was the episode that brought funny back for Baltar and showed that he was still very much a selfish person who was doing things for his own reasons. I'm curious to see how he changes in the finale. I wish James had been asked about the little boy named Gaius - was he the father? I was wondering how much that played into his decision to give out the food.

Part 5
"Essentially it's, uh... So that the civilians of the fleet can finally look after themselves. They've obviously come down on Adama's side after the mutiny, and now it looks like there might be a revolution, as Baltar says, because the cylons are coming aboard in a way that the humans have never anticipated. And um... to quell any future stay? of rebellion or mutiny, Baltar advices Adama that, you know, the people who he can trust are, um, as it were.. Baltar's fringe group. Cos however lunatic they may be, and it's obvious that some of them definitely are, they have the best interest of the fleet and of people as a whole."
Once again, this scene should have been expanded on. It's a disgrace that we were just basically shown Baltar saying "I want guns" and then cut to Baltar having the guns. That made zero sense. We should have known what was behind Adama's decision to give them, and how Laura and Lee felt about it.

Part 6
"I think it's, again, it's a thing about protecting the people around him and protecting himself. That's as far as the plan goes. [laughs] And having been uh.. as it were... unseated? in Dogsville, by people who had bigger guns than he did, he's now trying to change that around. I think it's evidently part of Six's plan, and as you know, Gaius gets connected and caught up in her plan. Because all of those things I'm saying to Paulla in the end about the guns and everything, it's like I'm becoming the puppet to her words. I mean, in the scene Im saying strength comes from within, it's Number Six's head and from guns, it's obviously not Gaius' idea on some level.
I loved that scene, because Head Six has been MIA for most of season four, and now she's suddenly back and feeding him words. It's a very similar scene to the one in season one where Baltar ends up asking Adama for the nuclear warhead.

Six: "What I need..."
Baltar: "What I need..."
Six: "Is a nuclear... warhead..."
Baltar: [looks at her all freaked out] "Is a nuclear..warhead???"

Six: "And we need more guns."
Baltar [glances at her like 'wuh? Okay..'] "And we need more guns! Bigger guns!!"

It's a lot of fun when James and Tricia get to play scenes like this, and it kind of portrays Baltar as a cylon puppet.

But is he the cylon puppet? Or the mastermind behind it all? Or something else completely? I'm hoping we'll find out in the finale. I'm honestly really nervous.

Monday, March 16, 2009

James On the End

James (Callis), Tricia (Helfer), Katee (Sackhoff) and Michael Trucco were interviewed for Space channel's podcast. There's a download link here, and I'd link to Space's own website if I could figure it out. James' bit comes at 12:20 and on, and I'm very happy that they let him think and talk, without intruding with a hundred comments and questions. It's brief but it feels like a real interview, not just a soundbyte. Transcript by me.

Will Baltar find redemption in the end?

"I'm not sure about redemption, but there is... he starts to have an understanding of himself. And you're going to see thru the end, so many of the characters who you've followed and you've loved, you're going to see... it is actually that, all of the characters coming to terms with themselves. I think... not about the situation and the plot and everything, it's when you've been on this odyssey and the odyssey is over, you're left with yourself. You know, and uh... that can be very frightening. And uh.. what's that word, uh... It can make you feel um.. exposed. Exposed, you're like you know, this here... it's just me. And everything you've done, everything you've gone thru, has come to this point. So it's been... I can't wait til you guys all see this thing, it's been so incredible to film, I can't... I don't even know what it's going... it's going to be so fantastic. It's gonna be, it's going to totally, totally blow your minds."

How did he feel reading the final scripts?
"I'd never really read anything like it. I was so excited because, like I say, everybody... Everybody's arc has been looked after. It's not like you get to the end and "But what happens to so and so?" Everything has been beautifully stitched together, it's like the most perfect, beautiful way to finish off this... I would say a form of cinematic literature. It's like coming to the end of um... it's not LIKE coming to the end, it IS coming to the end, of an incredible saga. And so many times in a saga, the events that have taken you there have been very exciting and the end can let you down, you're like... oh well, this um.. the ending is almost the making of everything. because you're going to see a lot of people that you have not seen before, and behaving in ways that you haven't seen before. And that's been so... It's been... it's been incredible. Just incredible. Out of this world!"

He sounds SO excited. I am psyched. I'd say he's overdoing the praise, but in this case, it might actually be valid. He certainly sounds genuine. (Bonus points for not bringing up Adolf Hitler.)

To be honest, I've been worried about, like he said, being let down. 4.5 has felt so jumbled and chaotic, with so many plots to tie up and so many characters to go through. But Daybreak, Part 1 was the exact opposite: calm, unhurried, beautiful, character-centric. It gives me a lot of hope for the final episodes. Maybe it won't be a letdown. Maybe it will be frakking awesome.

Beginner's Luck: A Very Biased Review

This is a review of James Callis and Nick Cohen's movie Beginner's Luck. It was co-written and co-directed by James, so it's kind of a big deal. Check out kixxa's beautiful images of the movie here. There's a description of the movie and characters at the Unofficial website here, and it looks like it might have been written by James himself. It's quite an old film, so I'm totally chalking up all weak points to "James was very young then".

To be honest, I feel like I'm not objective enough to review this film. I haven't had any personal contact with James, but after eight months of fangirling, I do feel close to him on a personal level, so it was like watching a family member's film. You want to like it, you really do. You see the sweat and tears of making it, their enthusiasm for the project, but then it's like... eh, this doesn't really work. It's awkward. I can't, in good conscience, gush over this film. My girlfriend was actually surprised - she said she thought that no matter how lame it was, I'd still be all "James is a genius!" I'll admit that I still consider him a genius, and I'm sure that today, James sees the film differently and doesn't necessarily feel it's his best work ever. So maybe I can be a bit critical.


This is a semi-autobiographical movie about a theatre group, the Vagabonds, made up of young people with lots of enthusiasm and very little experience. Mark Feinman, played by James, is the central character. He has these visions of an island and decides that directing Shakespeare's The Tempest would help create the island. Of course, everything goes terribly wrong.

There are three big problems with the film: zero budget, zero experience from the filmmakers, and little to no coherence in terms of narrative style. It's a mishmash: there's a voice-over, there are documentary style interview bits, dream sequences, montages. There's just too much going on here at the same time. The editing is choppy at places and it seems like a lot has been cut off. However, from the making of documentary, it sounds like the editing was a harrowing process for both James and Nick, and their enthusiasm was lost at that point. Sadly, this comes through in some places and contributes to the overall bleak mood of the film. It's not a bad film, all in all; there are things that work, and the story itself is pretty good. You get the feeling that they wanted to do a lot more, but didn't have the means to really realize their vision.

What worked:

There are two parts of the movie that I think work well. One is the opening night. I've watched it several times and it still makes me laugh. The seedy strip club. Magic Bob's lovely presentation - "They're just beginners, they need your compassion, their heart's in the right place" - and the whole disaster that unfolds when nobody except Anya can act. Overactor Jason screaming desperately, "There's no harm done!!! No harm!!!" George, the pillar of confidence, picks up his ringing cell phone: "I'm a bit busy at the moment" - and just goes on with the play like nothing happened. Alex, who looks on the verge of tears: "I be-beseech you sir... be merry." The ruthless critic who actually bursts into laughter. The disaster when the light display on the wall breaks down. This was all a lot of fun and lifted the mood of the movie.

The other bit I liked a lot is the whole Paris arc. This is where they're beginning to realize that it won't work out: literally no one comes to see their play. They're desperately pleading people on the streets to no avail. The desperation of it all is touching, but what really caught my interest was the crazy street performance scene. It was obvious the cast was having a great time there. Their youthful energy and enthusiasm is clear, and for a moment, you can see that they really wanted to make this work. James was very funny in this scene. "The greatest actors in London are here in Paris!" Hee. In the documentary, they mention that this scene was completely improvised and they didn't even get a permission, hoping they'd be arrested. So I guess the police officer in the end was not an actor. That's guerilla filmmaking for you!

I also found myself liking the characters. I was particularly pleased with the female characters - Hetty, Sophie and Alex are all pretty spunky and interesting, and while Anya could have been explored more, it fits the idea of Ariel that she was ethereal and kind of mysterious. I'm torn on Mark Feinman though - he's pretty rude to the others all through, but I also feel sorry for him when everything falls apart so miserably. The arrest scene and the scene with his father after that were particularly touching, you could sense his despair. The father-son thing was a nice and warm element that could have been explored more.

The island scenes, particularly the bit where they painted his face, added something mysterious and uplifting to the film. There was this whole tribal feel and, while the island vision felt slightly confusing, it was well-established with the dream sequences. I also enjoyed the camera run over the sea in the opening credits.

Another bit I really liked: the small moment where Mark is listening to an answering machine message from a very arrogant-sounding theatre manager in Edinburgh. "We do not book Vagabonds here." There were a number of moments where Mark's ambition is crushed against the harsh reality, and this and the opening night were perhaps the best examples of that.

What was missing:

There are a number of things that should have been addressed. For one thing, we don't really know any of the people's motivations for joining the theatre group. There's no backstory for any of them. Hetty and Jason seem to be friends with Mark from before, but it would have been nice to see how he got them into the idea. (Although I did enjoy the insane bath tub/shower scene.)

I would even have liked more backstory on Mark. What does he plan to do with his life? Is he out of school and out of work? His mother is very briefly visited, what is their relationship like? The father-son thing is good, but more could have been done with that.

Another thing I wanted to see was more camaraderie between the group. There weren't many fun moments, and there was a lot of fighting. A movie is easily weighed down with too much fighting. On the other hand, there were a couple of scenes where we weren't shown the confrontation - what did the others do when Jason tried to cut off his hand? How did the house owners react when they saw the Vagabonds living in their house without permission? (Yes, we saw them call the police, but then it's cut off, and it felt a bit strange.)

Personally, I would have lost Scott (the dumb guy) and Charlotte (the fat girl). I think they were both simply brought on to be the comic relief, and Scott in particular was very cardboard. There were many characters to keep tabs on already. Scott's audition scene was kind of funny, but not funny enough to be essential.

I'll also admit that I don't get most of James' acting choices here; it's quite over-the-top in most scenes. This is also true of all the other actors, with the exception of Julie Delpy, who brought a calmness into it all. I'm not really sure if the hyper acting is supposed to be intentional or not. Maybe it's meant to show how ridiculously intense Mark is about his goals. I think it might be ironic - the voice-overs are calm and well acted, and in some scenes, James is beautifully desperate and quiet. I tend to prefer subtle acting, so I would have liked to see more of that in the film.

The autobiographical element:

OK, so Nick Cohen really did have this kind of theatre group, and James did join it. That's all we know. Basically, James is playing Nick here. So if Mark Feinman is Nick Cohen, then it follows logically that Jason Caratos is James Callis. BUT: Jason is a complete nutcase. He sells his mother's jewelry to buy them a van, then claims the cat ate it. He tries to cut his own hand off in a fit of jealous rage. Did James actually do all these things? I realize they were improvising a lot while filming, but come on. Kind of worrying.

I was hoping the making of documentary would shed some light on these issues, but it did no such thing. So maybe it's best left behind a veil of mystery. This movie didn't give me as much inside knowledge of YoungJames as I had hoped, but based on one scene, he seems to take his coffee with milk and possibly sugar, which did give me a little thrill. Interestingly, he doesn't smoke in this role, but is shown with a cigarette in most of the documentary clips, so I wasn't completely deprived of the smoking fetish.

A slight alleviation to the whole fat girl thing:

I've already posted about the fat girl scene, but on a rewatch, I found a few things that slightly alleviate my feelings. There are a couple of stereotypes missing - she's not named Bertha, doesn't eat in any of the scenes, and most importantly, doesn't clutch onto any single man. In fact, while Jason doesn't want to kiss her, she doesn't want to kiss him either. This brings an important dimension into it: the fat girl can also be the rejecter. I like that. Furthermore, Charlotte is possibly the smartest of the lot, because she has the sense to leave. If she had stayed on a bit longer and had more of a likeable personality, I might almost overlook the "no man would kiss her" thing. That said, I still feel bad watching her scenes, so I think I'm just going to have to say "James was young then" and skip them altogether. He wouldn't do this again today. (Right? Right?)


Basically, I feel the movie is too ambitious. It would have worked better, had it been simpler. This is also a good sign. It does show that James and Nick have talent and ambition and can do something beyond this movie. So, while it's not a gushing review, I can end on a hopeful note. I'm sure that with almost ten years of more experience and maturing, they could turn out a really great movie today.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

James on the TV Guide Cover!

So it's obviously Sexy James Photos Week. Sorry, Google blogsearch, that's Sexy James CALLIS Photos Week. TV Guide has him in the cover, looking awesome and intense with two very sexy ladies, and his hair is looking really good this time. It looks like a very recent photo, with a similar (but better-looking) hairdo as that to the MegaCon one. See also: video above (if you find embedded videos annoying, try the direct link here) and more photos from the shoot online here.

James is really good in these photo shoots. Not only does he look great, but he can really flirt with the camera. Tricia's a former model, so I'm not surprised she feels at home in these shoots, but she and James play so well together that you'd think they're both models. I will really miss their chemistry together. They obviously like each other very much and have so much fun together. Sniff, don't break up my favorite TV couple! Give them their own series!

Tricia, Katee and Mary are all looking very classy and sexy, and even if I'm no A/R shipper, Eddie and Mary's shots together are very sweet. But what's up with Eddie's mullet? (Have I really taken up calling him Eddie?) I'm also intrigued as to why these exact actors. Eddie and Mary, OK, Tricia and Katee, OK. But, even if I love James and I know he's top seven and all, is he now more central than Jamie and Grace? This is interesting. It might be a hint of "the shape of things to come" in terms of the conclusion of the series. Or it might not be. I'm hoping Baltar will be very important, but we'll see.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Meet Me By The Water, Baby

...cos I can't get this picture out of my mind. It's a shot of James by the water, taken by Dennys Ilic. You can find more great photos by him at his Facebook profile. Ilic is a master at bringing out James' hotness (which is always there for me, but rarely THIS clear). Basically it's the most beautiful photo I've seen of James so far. I also love the nature element. You know it's a good picture when you get wet just from seeing the water (or rather the man drenched therein. :P Drool!).

Here's another style completely - more like old movie star pictures. Very stylish and hot. "Shh, don't worry baby - the future might seem uncertain, but I'm still really sexy."

Ilic was on set for BSG during the final days, and he also made the "final days of BSG" video that we weren't supposed to see, but totally did see and loved. It also contained lots of sexy James shots.

I can't find the exact quote now, but I seem to remember James mentioning these pictures at some con and being very happy with how they turned out. He's also used Ilic's photos of him, as seen on imdb, for autographs at cons.

The terms of use for these photos, stated by Ilic himself at the James Callis Unofficial Website:

I have no problem with people using shots i have listed publicly for their fan sites as long as they represent the actors in question as they are meant to be in my images and the shots are not re-framed or modified in any way.

The only conditions i ask to be adhered to are:

No Commercial Profit be made from the images.
Full and proper credit and links be provided to the Source
You send me a link to the point of use of the images.

You can contact him at dennys_ilicAThotmailDOTcom.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

James Callis at MegaCon (check back for updates)

Edited Monday, 16th March, at 5:30 PM Finnish time.

-Yay, some transcript/paraphrase bits from the panel! And a couple of cute James photos - in this journal here. The post is James-gushy, but the author also calls Baltar "utterly unlikeable". What? I love Baltar! I know I may be in the minority, but I definitely wouldn't call him that unlikeable. OK, but that's a minor point. A brief excerpt:

My fav. question was when one press chick asked James Callis why Baltar always seems to be crying on the show in situations or when he's talking. He replied that Baltar knows what he has done in playing his part in the destruction of humanity so he cries for himself but also for humanity and where they are, their struggles and what they have become. When so many persons have to be strong and confident, he weeps for them too (something to that effect).
Then the chick who asked the question was like "Ohh, now you make me feel bad since there's a drinking game based around Baltar's crying" Haha~
Awww, what a beautiful answer! It really shows how, when James is playing Baltar, he really becomes Baltar. I didn't know people focused so much on Baltar's crying. It's always been one of the things I like most about him.

-A lovely story of a James meeting here - and another addition to the money discussion. Basically you could talk to him for free - and get a hug:

I walked up, rather timidly, and shook hands with with James Callis and introduced myself and began with something along the lines of, “I just wanted to let you know what an amazing performance you do…” and continued to babble with things like “The show is just fanastic!” and “You’re my favourite character!” and, at the end of my gushfest, James Callis looked at me and said, “Thank you!” and came around the table and gave me a hug!
Awww, James! (*faints imagining that was me*)

-Two new photos:
Amused at the panel
Eating his fist at the panel (difficult questions?)

-A totally sexy photo of James cuddling with a girl. Eee! (Yes, I'm imagining myself there. I don't care if it's lame.)

-Two new photos:
James with a fan
(I'm not sure about that shirt, but he looks totally cute. And tiny, even if that other guy isn't even big. Yes, I am imagining his arm around me.)
James in the panel - taken from afar, but he looks cute anyway.

-An interview with James at SFX! (Which, I realize, is from Starfury, but whatever.)

SFX: Did you keep any souvenirs?
"Not really. They gave me some clothes I've worn in the show. They wanted me to wear the suit that I wore in the miniseries and I wear as Head Gaius, and whatever. And I was like, 'When am I ever going to wear that? Am I gonna like go to a nightclub dressed as Head Baltar?' [Laughs] So I didn't take it."
:D :D I think he should totally go to a nightclub dressed as HeadBaltar. And go around taunting people like only HeadBaltar can. There are also some interesting comments about The Hub, but I won't quote the entire thing.

-This fan made a beautiful painting of the various sides of Baltar - it's really pretty impressive. Then they posted on twitter, amazed that James already knew the painting:

Back from MegaCon.OMGs, JAMES CALLIS KNEW I WAS COMING!! :O He'd already seen the painting online! HOW?? XD He *loved* it! I'm so happy!! <3>

Gush!! ! I'd say there are two options - James goes to deviantArt and searches for himself. Or he goes to Google blogsearch (where I found this post) and googles himself. Incidentally, Google blogsearch might or might not also find my blog. (!!!) Edit: here's a link to deviantArt with more on the story. Apparently someone told James about this, and he had also seen it online himself. I have to quote a little more because this is so sweet:

He asked me how I made it/what it was made out of, ect, and I took the original out of the tube, saying it was acrylic, letting him get a closer look. He covered his mouth in awe (*squee!*), then said he wasn't worthy.
I said he could just put "To Wolfie" at the top and "From James" at the bottom, and he was all "Oh, but I want to write a message!" So there was a strip of white at the bottom (where the printer couldn't reach), and he wrote "U R seriously talented! I love it! Thank you so much. Love James", and then signed his full name (and Gaius Baltar) on the picture itself. And then I got a hug.
Awww! The painting is beautiful, so I'm not surprised at his reaction. But I'm still going to gush over just how sweet he was. What a lovely story.

-The first video from the BSG panel is up on Youtube - thanks to M for finding it! You can see a part of James' answer about auditioning for Baltar. It's a short video with shaky quality, but it gives us another piece in the puzzle of What's That Hairdo.

-Two new photos: here - and here (the second is a forum page, so you need to scroll down a bit). I'm baffled by his hair - that do looks a different shape in every picture. Is it flat? Is it puffy in the front? Is it magical hair that changes every time he turns his head? Either way, it looks like he is/was having fun.

-Photos from the panel:
James and Dirk Benedict, part one and two.
James and Herbert Jefferson Jr, part one and two. (The look on his face in that second one! Hee :D)
I'm still undecided on the hairdo, but the shirt is tight and exposes some Chest Hair of Justice, so drool I must.
And one more photo of James signing for someone, looking very serious and focused.

-The second photo of James at MegaCon! Here. You can see his hairdo better here. I tend to prefer him with long hair, but I think this do goes nicely with his general boyish look, so I'm torn. (My girlfriend and I immediately got into a debate over it, because she doesn't like it at all. But she's not a fan so she doesn't get a vote.)

-The first photo of James at MegaCon! In this thread. (Scroll down to see it.)

James Callis was awesome, had me grinning from ear to ear. It was great to meet one of my favorite actors like that. He couldn't have been cooler. And we got to take a photo for free, which was great!
You can really see in the picture how excited the fan is. James is a total sweetheart. And cute. Gush!

-The Orlando Sentinel reports about the event, and they have a nice picture of James - in which I don't like the hair; my reactions keep changing! - but also a criticism of the prices of autographs and photos:

Rates varied for autographs and photos across the board, but at least for Tricia Helfer and James Callis, the cost definitely put a sour taste in some fans' mouths. Aside from the $20 fee for an autograph, it cost another $20 to take a photo alongside the stars. While to some $40 is a small price to pay for an autograph and photo from one of the stars of their favorite show, others (including myself) would much rather spend those funds on something a little more tangible.

Is that really so expensive? I mean, Edward James Olmos was charging 60 bucks per autograph at Dragon*Con. I was surprised about the fees first, but it makes sense when you think about it. If I went to a con, I'd go ONLY to see James and get his photo/autograph/a brief chat with him. I'd definitely pay for it, because it means a lot to me. If it were free, a lot of people who don't even care about James/Baltar would line up just to get a celebrity's autograph to show off to their friends. This would make the lines even longer and make some people miss meeting their favorites, thus ruining their con. If you're a fan, I'd think you're willing to pay the price. If you don't want to pay, you're probably not very invested in meeting them anyway.

Also, if I spent the entire day talking to strangers, signing for them, posing with them, etc., I'd like to be paid for it. It's not such a big deal to talk to one person and hear their praise for your work, but to talk to a hundred or more people on the same day - it must be exhausting. And this criticism also goes for the blogger whose photos I link to below, who actually said James doesn't need his money because he must be rich already. Ok, off my soap box now.

-A second photo from the blogger below - James seems to be doing a humor pose, and looks even more adorable than in the earlier pic. Hee! Edit: I just realized how disturbing it is that some random guy took pictures of someone else's child with James Callis, probably without permission. Eh. It's still a cute picture of James, so I'm not taking down the links, but I'm not sure if I advocate this.

-Another photo from afar, but at least it's actually a photo of James. He's looking adorably kind, talking to a kid who looks too young to appreciate the intricacies of BSG - it always surprises me that they have child fans as well. I would have been traumatized, watching it as a kid! The blogger sounds a bit defensive regarding the photo. I thought James usually donates his photo money to charity (although I'm not sure if he was doing that at MegaCon). Also, I would totally pay 25 bucks for a picture with him. But to each his and her own. In this picture, I like his hair. It's confusing.

-Matt Campagna of BSG Cast reports that James was "delightful" (gush) and recognized him and Nat right away (super gush). Awesome!

-This photo is a bit like the video below, i.e. it shows Tricia looking beautifully towards the camera and James in the background looking away from it. My attention is, as always, drawn to the bottle of cola next to him - looks like it might be Pepsi this time. (My own consumption of sugary cola has increased considerably since I became a fan.) I know it's not much of an update, but just because of the bottle, I have to link to it. Edit: My girlfriend confirmed (with much chuckling at my cola fetish) that it's certainly an American Pepsi bottle, and it's not diet. This is probably only interesting to me, but just to confirm. :P

-You can see James in this video, even if it's actually a video of someone's meeting with Tricia. You can't hear James so if you're not a super fangirl like me, you might want to skip it, but you can see the exact length of his hair (a bit shorter than Starfury), and see him looking very friendly with the fans. Which made me very happy. I know, I'm a cheap date.

-James wants to have conversations with people - which is also awesome, even if this writer seems bugged by it:

It took about 45 minutes to an hour to get through that line, mainly because Dr. Baltar decided to have actual conversations with the people who had bought a pic and wanted his autograph or just wanted to have a pic with him (like I did). That was great for them, of course, but not so great for the rest of us who had to wait in line.
I'd personally prefer waiting a long time to have an actual conversation to getting in right away and just having a quick hello with him. But I guess it depends on how much you like him.